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Suppose that in March or April 1941, 14 Americans with lengthy backgrounds in national security affairs had reported to President Franklin Roosevelt that the United States was going to be attacked somewhere, sometime, somehow by the Japanese, that this attack would result in large numbers of American casualties, and these officially appointed Americans had strongly recommended to the Roosevelt administration that it take urgent steps to help prevent such an attack. Further suppose that Roosevelt had done little if anything in response to this warning, and that almost eight months later, as it happened, the Japanese attacked American facilities at Pearl Harbor, and almost 2,000 Americans died. Suppose after this attack official inquiries were launched, as it also happened, as to why there was a failure of intelligence, what actions were or were not taken based on what intelligence there was, and what could be done to prevent such catastrophic surprises in the future. And finally suppose that the official commission created to investigate the tragedy of Pearl Harbor failed to call upon the original 14 Americans who forecast the attack and forewarned against it.
When told that the 9/11 commission has not asked for any public testimony from us, most people are incredulous. If the 9/11 commission is really trying to find out what was known and when it was known, they ask, why would your national security commission's warnings and recommendations not be of direct relevance and urgent interest? Didn't you publicly and privately warn the new Bush administration of your concerns about terrorism? Didn't you specifically recommend a new national homeland security agency? Why wouldn't all this be of central importance to the work of the 9/11 commission? The simple answer to all these questions is: I don't know why we have not been asked to testify.
From the very beginning, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 commission, has differed from the White House over funding, documents, witnesses and secrecy. But as National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice prepares to testify publicly on Thursday, the commission and the administration agreed on at least one key issue: Both defended Philip Zelikow, the Rice friend and colleague who serves as the commission's executive director, from critics concerned about his apparent conflicts of interest.
Those critics -- including the four World Trade Center widows whose political activism spurred the commission's creation -- have become increasingly disturbed as they've discovered more about Zelikow's close and continuing connections with Rice and the Bush administration. They point to the Republican academic's intense work on the Bush national security transition team; his role in restructuring the National Security Council; his 2001 appointment to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; his drafting of the president's National Security Strategy in 2002; and his continuing contacts with White House officials, including political strategist Karl Rove.
“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz
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